During the hottest part of the summer, I decided to take up hot yoga, because, you know, it was hot anyway.
For those of you following along at home, the hot yoga occurs at a different place than the classes with the instructor I wrote about in “They carry parasites,” and the dynamic is very different as well. Classes are large. There are several different instructors, some who come to yoga via aerobics and gymnastics. The studio has a wall of windows that look out onto a parking lot; curious passers-by peer in.
It seems exactly like the sort of place I would hate.
Yet I keep going.
And because I cannot have experiences without analyzing them, here are five reasons why I like it, and why you might like it too.
1. Heat is a great equalizer. Everyone in a hot yoga class is sweaty. Everyone. Worried about looking awkward? Everyone looks awkward. Worried about getting tired and having to rest? Lots of people have to rest. And you can’t tell by looking who’s gonna need to take time outs.
2. Heat makes it harder for the hamster wheel to start spinning. I know, I know, part of the point of yoga is to be Mindful and Centered and Find Your Stillness. But sometimes — okay, often — when you’re in a pose, you remember everything you’re freaking out about, and you have no goddamn stillness whatsoever. When a chunk of your brain is occupied with Geez it sure is hot, there is less room for freakouts to take over.
3. Large classes mean you can be anonymous. This one probably won’t last; when you become a regular anywhere, people start recognizing you, remembering your name, etc. But it’s early enough in this particular game that I don’t know anyone, and no one knows me.
4. No partner work. I’ve never been a fan of working with others in an exercise context; it’s one of the reasons I didn’t get very far with martial arts. As far as I can tell, hot yoga doesn’t emphasize partner work at all — perhaps in part, again, because of the heat. Too slippery!
5. Interesting tattoo sightings. Because people don’t tend to wear very much.